Monday, May 19, 2014

Favorite Fillers

Today I wanted to share 4 of my favorite plants to use as gap fillers in my garden.

My absolute favorite gap fillers are hostas.  I just love how their big, lush green foliage fills in around their neighboring plants.  They come in a variety of solid and variegated greens.  Some are flowering while others simply boast beautiful green foliage.  They're easy to thin, so transplanting and spreading to other areas around the garden helps you receive more bang for your buck.  This year, I've thinned quite a few of my hostas, which makes them look sparse at the moment.  But I know in the coming months, they will fill right in and cover up the gaps that are around them.  They do well in shade, so they work great under larger tress or in areas that don't receive much light.

(Shade loving hosta, lady fern, and solomon's seal.  They were tiny 4 inch transplants a few weeks ago but each have already tripled in size)

(Variegated Hosta growing under a Shoshoni Viburnum)

Another favorite are Shasta Daisies.  They may not typically be used as a "filler" plant, but I appreciate their pretty green foliage and how they tend to mold in open areas around them.  Who knows why, but these guys love my yard.  I've already divided several times a tiny little 4 inch plant that I purchased four years ago.  In early Spring, they are very easy to thin and transplant in new areas.  I've also given many away as gifts.  Although they bloom later in the summer, I enjoy their pretty green foliage this time of year.  They are happiest in full sun, but also do well in part shade.

(Thick Chamomile foliage that grows in full sun on the left, Shasta Daisy foliage in the center)

Chamomile, which is considered a weed in some parts of the world, is another plant that isn't typically thought of as a filler.  In my garden however, I love how their delicate, lace-like leaves spread all over and fill in gaps.  I grow both varieties - Roman (a perennial) and German (a self-seeding annual).  Both varieties spread wherever they want and give pretty little blossoms all summer long.  Some gardeners keep them under control in containers.  Their tiny seeds spread like fire in late summer and they can be considered invasive, but I actually like the way they take over open spaces.  They love full sun, where their foliage gets full and thick.  They'll grow in shade and will still flower, however the foliage won't be as full.  In the cooler spring months here in Seattle, they start of tall, thin and leggy.  But come July and August, these little plants will bulk up in volume.

(Leggy Chamomile in bloom)

My favorite plant to cover lower ground areas is Irish Moss.  I just love the varying tones of green and how it fills in around stones, pavers and bricks.  I wish it grew faster, in my garden this is a slower growing plant and has taken several seasons to fill in just small areas.  Come summer though, I love the tiny white blossoms that shoot out of the compact green foliage and appreciate how much it's grown over the years.

What are some of your favorite plants to use as gap fillers in your garden?  I'd love to hear of any success/ failure stories you may have.

1 comment:

  1. love the ideas here. And the pictures are great (I see a puppy dog and a child in a couple shots :))

    I just found some Irish moss last summer and I've noticed that it spread just a tad. I've been thinning out Black Eyed Susans like it is my job this year. Also, our bee balm got thick enough that I could pull out some to spread around to other corners of our garden. And I'm a huge fan of sedum; I have a couple of varieties that I keep spreading around the beds/pathways in our garden.